The Moral Urgency of Climate Action

Kathleen Dean Moore, writer will speak on March 6 at the Vet’s Memorial in Davis

by Lynne Nittler

In a flood of extinctions and on-rushing global warming, what can one person do to change the course of the river?  Why should anyone try?

Cool Davis invites the public to a feisty talk on Friday, March 6, that also will touch hearts and renew commitments to slow climate change. In a talk that is equal parts anger and love, writer/philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore will speak about the nature of change and call participants to radical truth-telling and courageous citizenship.

Her talk will be at the Veterans’ Memorial Theater, 203 E. 14th St., and advance registration is recommended. Moore also will speak the following morning at the Interfaith Climate Conference at University Covenant Church.

At a 6:30 p.m. reception March 6, guests can meet Moore, enjoy the live music of local group Five Three Oh! and munch on snacks. They also can take climate actions by signing up to be a Cool Home or consider the Citizens’ Climate Lobby strategy of a carbon fee and dividend.

At 7:15 p.m., Larry Greene, executive director of the Sacramento Metro Air Quality Management District and a board member of Cool Davis, will take the stage as emcee. A Cool Davis update will be followed by California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister, who said emphatically, “Indeed, there is a lot happening on energy in California today, and I will be happy to help get folks fired up about it!”

Says Elizabeth Lasensky, a newcomer to Davis who already has registered for the talk, “As a political and environmental activist with MoveOn, I am always looking for synergistic groups to partner with, to learn from and to expand our progressive voice. The extended Cool Davis community is ideal; we share a passion for climate justice as well as a mission to save our planet.

“Talking with folks at the reception, hearing from a California energy commissioner and then listening deeply to philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore will be invigorating.”

Having read Moore’s book “Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril,” Ed Clemens is relieved that so many world leaders believe we have a moral imperative to act to preserve our imperiled planet. But he wants to know, “How do we translate this obligation into policies?” March 6 is his chance to ask.

Moore is a philosopher, nature writer, public speaker and defender of all that is wet and wild. Her work brings together the written word, the wisdom of the natural world, and the moral clarity of philosophy to explore our place on the planet and our responsibilities for its thriving.

She is a professor emerita of philosophy at Oregon State University and teaches writing workshops in beautiful places, from wilderness Alaska to the Apostle Islands. Recently, she has become a much sought-after speaker on how to address climate change and meet our moral obligations to the future. In fact, Cool Davis booked her a year and a half ago for this occasion.

A link to Moore’s books, website and talks can be found at

Jacqueline Clemens has read Moore’s writing. She wrote, “Moore is one of my environmental heroes. Her book, ‘Wild Comfort,’ triggered long-forgotten memories, times in quiet places in nature where I have found extraordinary peace and experienced beauty. … The rapid degradation of our planet, the assault on the environment due to climate change, should be lighting a fire under us all.

“The threat is no longer a lifetime away. It is now; it is our future and the future of our children and grandchildren. The need for action is urgent. Moore’s message is clear. She reminds us of what we are losing.”

Lorenzo Kristov took the time to listen to several of Moore’s talks on YouTube and concluded, “Kathleen Dean Moore eloquently and passionately reminds us that we are morally responsible to revere and safeguard the Earth and its current and future residents, not exploit them as mere resources for consumption and accumulation of private wealth.

“Her words cut through the denial and pessimism that pervade mainstream political discourse, and inspire us to reaffirm our deepest values and use them as the basis for fully engaged citizenship to drastically alter the destructive path our society is on.”


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27 thoughts on “The Moral Urgency of Climate Action”

  1. Napoleon Pig IV

    Sounds like an interesting talk.

    Of course, no matter what people do or don’t do, evolution will continue and “nature” will endure. The anthropocentric question is whether “nature” will endure with or without the human species. Oink!

    1. DurantFan

      Climate Justice is exporting the environmental  impact of the production of the vast majority of the electronic devices we use today (we L O V E our cell phones, etc) overseass  to third world countries (and China).   High production by low wage earners under stressful  working conditions keeps our costs low, and we do not have to endure the adverse environmental impacts (pollution) generated pursuant to the production of these items.    As I see it,  Climate Justice is a winner for the US both ways! (Sarcasm Mine!)

  2. TrueBlueDevil

    Will she address the Global Warming hiatus, which means that we have had no warming for 20, 21 or 22 years? New reports say we may go another 5 years with no “warming”.

    Will she cover the second major instance of temperature records being manipulated?

    The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever
    New data shows that the “vanishing” of polar ice is not the result of runaway global warming

    Is it possible this is the greatest scientific fraud ever?


    1. wdf1

      TBD:  Is it possible this is the greatest scientific fraud ever?

      If you look in the comments section to the link you posted, you will find credible responses to Booker’s assertions.

      1. Davis Progressive

        i read a lot of this debate when tbd posted the same link a few weeks ago.  the problem that i see with the debate is that you have to have a much higher level of knowledge to really understand why booker is wrong or at least to explain it.  but its easy to post a polemic and have people like tbd jump onto it even though they really don’t understand the science.

        1. Davis Progressive

          your comment was about the global temperatures, not the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  oceans is the explanation for why surface temperatures have plateaued since 1998.  most of earth’s surface is covered by ocean and 90 percent of the excess heat energy is stored in the ocean.

        2. jrberg

          DP is correct.  Oceans are absorbing much of the excess heat, which has consequences in terms of energy available to climate events.  Anyone who understands the simple concept of heat capacity will know why a 1 degree temperature increase of the oceans is hundreds of times worse than a 1 degree increase of the atmosphere.  The oceans are also absorbing CO2, which is why they are becoming more acidic.  This has severe adverse effects on shellfish and coral.

          There is no warming hiatus, and there is no scientific conspiracy.  Scientists follow facts and evidence, for the most part.


        3. wdf1

          TBD:  Oceans are magically gobbling up C02 for some unknown reason?

          Oceans are taking up CO2, but I wouldn’t characterize it as either magical or unknown.  See ocean acidification.

          If you think ocean acification is more science BS, then I’d be interested to hear your take on what’s really going on.

        4. TrueBlueDevil

          Maybe the Warmists are doing flip flops to explain away a 22-year warming hiatus, not to mention a 2nd round of fudged (manipulated) data points. They offer us 40 or 50 computer models, and not even one works correctly. Shady.

        5. jrberg

          TBD –
          “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” — Neil DeGrasse Tyson

          “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” — Aldous Huxley

          And this scientist has no further desire to debate willful ignorance.



        6. Davis Progressive

          “So you’re going to take a pass on ocean acidification. ”

          of course he is. the problem is that most of the climate deniers aren’t scientists, so they are reacting to blog posts where absurd problems are raised without any kind of real insight into the process.  no one with knowledge consults with them and in the end, they just parrot flawed blog posts.

          look i cited the problem with the hiatus was primarily the oceans. tbd didn’t even know what i was talking about and made an absurd comment which he had no real understanding for. and then he quickly disappeared once he was challenged with actual studies and information.

        7. wdf1

          DP:  There are different flavors of climate change/global warming denial.  TBD’s statements here represent the most extreme, as in, “there’s no warming happening.”  There is a huge body of observation that contradicts that assertion that requires explaining, including changing distribution patterns of organisms consistent with steady warming.  This includes the kinds of crops that farmers in one place plant in 2015 v. what they planted in 1915.

          But you’re right.  TBD is triumphantly attacking the broad theory without offering alternative explanations for the supporting observations.  He’s trying to score quick and easy argument points.

  3. DurantFan

    ” …. In a talk that is equal parts anger and love, writer/philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore will speak about the nature of change and call participants to radical truth-telling and courageous citizenship. …”

    Here is a piece of “radical truth-telling!”

    In Davis, we strive for a small,  “politically correct” carbon footprint  while yet  mindlessly generating an enormous  electronic footprint (we L O V E our cell phones, etc*).  With a Mickey Mouse sized carbon footprint and a Goofy sized electronic footprint,  you will know of our hypocrisy by our limping!


    * The massive and expanding production, use, and disposal of  electronic devices sure isn’t carbon neutral!


  4. DavisBurns

    If the unregulated market actually met consumers demand, countless people would buy cell phones that did not need to be thrown away every two to three years.  Until the market meets those demands don’t bitch about how we throw things away.  That’s the only option we have.  My family’s electronics are used far longer than than their design life.  I’m sure I’m not alone.  I resent having to recycle crap when what I want is stuff that is durable.

    The moral question I ask about how we live is how come we pretend that the natural resources we have been using with abandon the past couple of hundred years are without limit and we can continue without serious consequences forever?  Where is the leadership? They are busy putting money in the bank as fast as they can before things fall apart.

    1. dlemongello

      The other option you have is to not use them.  Of course as long as everyone else does, not much would be accomplished. I’m typing this on a Powerbook G4, I don’t have a cell phone, I get by.  That does not make me a saint, that makes the whole situation very difficult and this woman who is going to fly here to talk to us and who flies to “beautiful places” to give writing workshops is just another hypocrite.  She is going to tell us what to do; yeah sure!

      1. Tia Will

        this woman who is going to fly here to talk to us and who flies to “beautiful places” to give writing workshops is just another hypocrite.  She is going to tell us what to do; yeah sure!”


        Please take these as honest questions, not as sarcasm since I struggle with these ideas and with my own role in how best to make a contribution while screwing up our planet as little as possible.

        What if she were not going to fly here ? What if she was going to come by personal electric vehicle, or bus, or train ? If her words were the same, would she then have greater credibility in your mind ?

        What percentage of a person’s time must be spent in a non consumption life style in order for them to not be considered “just another hypocrite” ? What percentage of her time can be spent “getting out her message” ? And if someone does not take on the role of speaking and publicizing the message, how will a message be disseminated ?

    2. DurantFan

      DB, your point has some merit, and we should build more quality into products, be they disposable electronics or otherwise.  From my perspective, we have a bigger problem in that our current economy is more ” frosting than cake.”   Right now the hype driving the equation  is centered on  entertainment (electronic products) and travel (vehicles, and vacation destinations).  Carbon reduction be damned, we want our public to be entertained,  docile, diverted, and in motion!

    3. TrueBlueDevil

      Hence the free market and pricing to ration scarce resources. We will also develop “substitutes”, “perfect substitutes”, and have technological breakthroughs.

      See the book, The Club of Rome. One hundred years ago they were telling us we were going to run out of oil in 5 years. True, true, at $2 a barrel and with limited technology.

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